Shentonista Interviews – Matthews & Yoyo: Hats Off, Lovebirds
Matthews & Yoyo
Cupid’s here a-visiting again and we at Shentonista would like to celebrate this season of romance with you by sharing some modern day love stories as part of our “Shentonista Interviews” series. Creative, entrepreneurial and all-around inspiring, these featured couples for our Valentine’s Day special show what makes them tick.
Our second couple boasts some formidable fashion chops. Meet Yoyo Cao and Matthews Chang. Both work in fashion, both are always splendidly dressed, and both are adorably goofy with each other. The petite Yoyo is the owner of cult fashion boutique, Exhibit, and a force to be reckoned with on Instagram, where her outfit posts have gained her a solidly loyal fan base. Matthews manages a number of fashion brands and is undoubtedly a prime example of a modern day dandy with his jackets and hats. Positively giddy with happiness when we spoke to them, this exuberant couple showed just how in tune with each other they are when they completed each other’s sentences and gently poked fun at each other. Read on and feel the love.
Do you guys celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Matthews (M): We haven’t had the opportunity yet. This year will be the first.
Yoyo (Y): (Giggles)
What’s the first item you gave him/her? Are you still wearing or using it today?
Y: Matthews gave me tissue paper.
M: Yes, that’s the truth. We were on a plane and she fell asleep so I wrote a note on a piece of tissue and clipped it on the table that was stowed away.
Was that how you met?
Y: What?! (Laughs)
M: No no, we met before that. Yoyo, do you still have the tissue paper?
Y: Yup, it’s at home.
And from Yoyo to Matthews?
M: A camo-print shirt from Supreme that I’m still wearing. We bought both the brown and green version then.
How’s it like with both of you working in the fashion industry? Do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing?
Y: It’s a good thing. At least he understands. People working in other industries might not fully understand and agree with what we’re wearing. They might question why are we dressed in this fashion or think, “You go wedding ah?” (Chuckles)
What other benefits do you think there are?
M: I think it’s easier to get second opinions from each other. Especially on my side. (Laughs) I would always ask her “Eh should I wear this” and she’ll be like, “Ya ya ya” and with that, my outfit for the day is settled.
Who or what are your style influences? Why?
Y: My mother… (giggles)
M: Your mother? Haha I didn’t know that.
Y: Her fashion is quite timeless. She dresses her age and doesn’t follow trends.
M: You grew up with a hip mom lah.
Do you steal each others’ clothes? Who does most of the buying?
M: Yoyo does most of the buying and I steal her clothes. All her T-shirts are size M. Which is just nice for me too.
Y: I steal from you too.
What’s your favourite item of his/her? What’s the favourite item that you’ve received from him/her?
M: You like nothing right?!
Y: His hat.
You hat looks very new.
M: Thanks! I’ve been using it for quite a while. About half a year? It’s 180 dollars so I’d better wear everyday.
Why the hat?
M: Maybe because she has something that looks like it.
Y: Because it matches most of his outfits. From when he’s dressed casually to when he’s all dressed up; it even matches well with the Street Goth trend that he was recently very interested in.
M: No… Not really… No longer.
Y: He was…
M: I’ve never really worn so much black before so I thought I’d give it a try. (To Yoyo) Don’t expose me okay…
And your favourite item of Yoyo’s that she always wears or has?
M: Hmm, I don’t know, she’s got so many things… I think it’s that blue denim dress that she always wears. It goes down to her knees.
Y: Oh, it’s a denim shift dress. Very plain dress. I don’t know why he chose that.
M: It’s basically pleats of denim. I like simple things so the simpler it is, the better.
What’s the favourite item you’ve received from Yoyo?
M: Oh she bought me this Supreme multi-utility tool.
Y: It’s like a Swiss army knife, screw driver, can-opener…
M: It’s my favourite because it’s practical and I can use it for work. It even comes with pliers and other handy tools. It’s really damn nice, damn nice, damn nice… (Matthews repeats this about six times).
And Yoyo? What did you receive from him that you really liked?
Y: He made a Christmas card for me recently. It’s a simple 3-D card.
M: (Chimes in) It’s a pop-up card.
Y: (Laughs) But please don’t think too much of it. It’s not that fantastic.
M: (Laughs) I you-tubed it man.
Describe each others’ style?
Y: Casual. Smart casual
M: Hers is, how do I put it into words. It’s very high fashion but it’s like affordable high fashion. She has the eye to put pieces together. Take for instance, the outfit that she’s wearing today. If someone else wears it, they might not be able to pull it off and it might come across as gaudy. But on Yoyo, it doesn’t. She has the ability to coordinate her outfits. (Yoyo laughs.)
Do you think your style has changed since being together?
M: Yeah, of course. It has changed a lot.
Y: Yes a lot. From being very casual to being more dressed-up now. He was very into those sporty and outdoors-y looks and was always in jerseys and singlets. Now, he bothers to dress up.
M: It depends on what the event is. I need to pack stock for work so I opt for pieces that are more functional but yet still fashionable.
Y: He can’t play with layers as he perspires quite easily.
But he doesn’t sweat! We had a shoot together the other day in the hot sun and he didn’t even break a sweat.
Y: Are you sure?
M: Li buay hiao la (meaning “you don’t know” in the Hokkien dialect).
Y: Maybe he’s perspiring inside but you guys didn’t realise.
Being both entrepreneurs, what’s your support system like? Do you all share experiences or tips?
M: I don’t know, we never had much problems. She’s quite understanding and listens when I tell her about the things that happen at work. To me, being a listening ear is good enough. She also tries to see things from my perspective.
Y: I will give my opinions. Hopefully they’ve been useful. (Laughs)
M: But it doesn’t work both ways, Yoyo doesn’t really ask me for advice about work. We might be in fashion together but we cater to a slightly different crowd. She knows her customers better than I know mine.
Do you set limits for how much time you are allowed to discuss work at home?
Y: Well, 90 per cent of the time at home is for him to watch TV. We watch everything and anything but mostly informative channels like National Geographic and Discovery Channel. My favourite is Criminal Investigation but recently we’ve been watching a lot of NBA because Matthews likes NBA.
M: That’s how I deal with work.
Y: Sometimes we do talk right. We just don’t have a certain time set aside for talking.
M: There’s nothing major to talk about. (Yoyo laughs.) My days are longer so I get a little bit more tired.
Y: So every time when I want to talk he’ll be like, “I want to sleep already” (laughs).
M: (To Yoyo) Hey come on man! I wake up very early, of course I’m tired! We’ve been quite lucky that work has been smooth sailing so we haven’t experienced any serious situations.
With Yoyo becoming a public personality, does it affect your relationship or personal life?
M: It’s quite fun that people can recognise her.
Y: It doesn’t really bother me. I only dress up on weekdays. I’m dressed quite slack and casual during the weekends.
M: Yeah we stay at home most of the time. We used to cook quite a bit.
Y: Or we would go over to our friends’ houses. Oh, but recently we started going on little adventures all around Singapore, taking photos and stuff.
M: Sometimes we sneak and climb into old buildings. I taught her how to climb.
Y: But I go there more often than you.
M: Eh I’m working!
What do you hope to see more Shentonistas wear?
Y: Not just black and white. Perhaps they can experiment with more colours. I believe that you can still dress formally but play around with colours and details like pocket squares, ties, shoes…
M: I think people around here should be bolder when it comes to their dressing. The style here is very similar. You can break the shape by adding little bits of different elements like for example, putting on a nice pair of shoes or wearing something that has a nicer fit. Or adding a cap.
What is the one thing that you can’t stand about Shenton Way girls.
M: Tight skirts.
Y: Yeah, tight dresses. I think it’s better to dress according to your body shape.
M: I think for women here, many of them have a standard look – shirts with pencil skirts. There might be guidelines in your work place but I think there are are creative ways to work around it. I feel that once you work in this area, you can get lost in it. We should just express ourselves and break out of that monotony.
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